Thursday, November 08, 2012

Art in the movies: Arbitrage

Anyone who catches the new Richard Gere vehicle Arbitrage will immediately connect it with Wall Street the famous greed-is-good pic. While Arbitrage is not so hot on great one-liners, once again art is used to supply the fabulous wealth metaphor and like Wall Streets I and II the art is real-stuff borrowed in. According to the New York Times the budget for getting art onto the walls of the various locations was $US60,000. 

All this spending on packing, transport, lease and copyright fees was in the charge of critic/curator/consultant Linda Yablonsky who writes for the NYT, Artforum and other art mags. Her selection includes a number of artists whose work is fairly easy to recognise in the film including Donald Baechler, Brice Marden, Laurie Simmons, Alexander Calder and Marilyn Minter (and we did spot the inevitable Mock Rothko in the background of one shot). On a more local note, a good deal of the art came from the New York dealer Salon94 that has Francis Upritchard in its stable although we didn't spot a Upritchard sculpture up on the screen. 

Then, as the movie includes the now almost mandatory female art dealer as a key character, an opening had to be arranged. The subject of this solo exhibition is photo-realist painter Victor Rodriguez who was the choice of the movie's director Nicholas Jarecki (sorry curatorial team but that’s what directors do best). Given that the production was using Vic’s apartment on White Street in Tribeca (it used to be the famous Mudd Club – Basquiat, Haring, Madonna) for the gallery location there are no surprises there.  

OTN PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: as anyone in the film world will tell you (unless they are on the hunt for a location) never, ever, under any circumstances, let a feature film crew into your house, apartment, office or boatshed.

For most of Arbitrage art pretty much serves as I-am-rich wallpaper although a Brice Marden does get a small speaking part when the mogul (Gere) praises his art dealer and girlfriend on the side with, “She bought me these Brice Mardens here and over time they’ve gone up in price.” Spoiler alert – it doesn’t help her at all, not one little bit. 

Images: Left Robert Miller (Richard Gere) walks past Ryan McGinley's Dusk flip smoke strip and right Detective Michael Bryer (Tim Roth) partly obscures a blurry Brice Marden. Bottom, the mock Mark Rothko